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Why “We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Told Powerfully Through Poetry, Prose, Essay, and Art” Is Important to Me

We Will Not Be Silenced Book Cover

So, I know this will come as a surprise to many of you. If you follow me on social media at all, you might already know what I’m about to say. I recently submitted a poem I’d written for the opportunity to possibly be included in an anthology that talks about sexual harassment and sexual assault. At the time, I was feeling extremely passionate about those subject matters and an idea for a poem came to me. So I wrote down the words that were flowing through my thoughts and on a whim, submitted my poem to Indie Blu(e) Publishing.

Before this poem, I’ve never ever submitted any writing of mine for publication so I didn’t know what was going to happen. So when I received an email back saying that my poem was going to be accepted to be included in the anthology, I was completely surprised. I didn’t expect this poem I’d written on a whim to be accepted, but I was also happy too for a many number of reasons.

There are many reasons why the subject matter of sexual harassment and sexual assault are important to me. The best way I can describe it is this: I’ve had quite a few experiences of my own where I found myself feeling uncomfortable around someone of the opposite sex. Whenever I was in elementary school, I was bullied a lot by boys my age. When these boys bullied me, a lot of what they did was physical, such as pulling my hair.

Then when I was in middle school (6th grade to be exact) I dealt with having two different boys harassing me. One of the boys told me he wanted to kiss me and that he knew I liked him even though I never once expressed any interest in him.  The other boy would pucker his lips and make kissing noises at me during class. It was to the point where I found myself covering my face with my jacket or putting my head on the table so I could ignore him because he never stopped doing it even after I confronted him about it.

I’ve also had some pretty personal experiences with emotional and verbal abuse throughout my middle school and high school years. Whenever I was in 8th grade, my mother married a man we all thought would be a wonderful addition to our family. Instead, he was emotionally and verbally abusive towards the three of us along with being an alcoholic. The marriage was so bad that the summer before my senior year of high school, my mother decided she had enough and we spent several days packing our things so that we could leave. During that time, my older sister and I stayed the night at various friend’s homes so that we weren’t anywhere near our ex step-father and had friends help us pack until we collected all of our belongings. Those years were some of the roughest years of my life, but despite those terrible times, I’m extremely thankful for them. Because I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t had those experiences in my life.

So for me personally, I believe the “We Will Not Be Silenced” anthology is really important. I believe it’s a really great way for those who have their own personal stories about being sexually harassed and assaulted to come forward creatively. Or anyone that has any other types of stories to open up and share their experiences. And I’m extremely thankful and honored that my poem is within it’s pages.

We Will Not Be Silenced My Poem
The poem I submitted into the “We Will Not Be Silenced” anthology. It’s called “If ‘Boys Will Be Boys,’ Then Girls Are Allowed to be Angry.” There’s more of it on the next page, but I figured I wouldn’t share my whole poem on here.
We Will Not Be Silenced Back Cover
You can even see my name on the back cover, near the bottom.
We Will Not Be Silenced Me Photo 1
Me with “We Will Not Be Silenced” in my hands and our one cat on my lap.

If you’re interested in getting yourself a copy of the anthology, you can order a paperback copy on Amazon here and get it for your Kindle here. You can also send an email to indiebluecollective@gmail.com if you’d like to be placed on the wish list for a copy of the anthology. I would also like to add that seventy percent of the royalties raised above the publishing and promotion costs will be donated to organizations that provide services to sexual harassment and sexual assault survivors, which is another reason why I’m so happy to be a part of this.

I still can’t believe that a poem I’ve written has been published. But I can’t be any happier about it because I’m expressing myself and letting my voice be heard. Please if you can, get yourself a copy of “We Will Not Be Silenced” because there are a lot of powerful voices expressing their truths. From what I’ve read of it so far myself, these stories are pretty amazing. Just know too that if you have your own personal story, don’t hesitate to reach out and talk to me. You aren’t alone and I believe you.

Back to Blogging (Hopefully)

Back to Blogging Fall Image

Hello everyone! I hope you all have been doing well and I’m sorry I haven’t written anything on here in so long. I know it’s been a month since I’ve last written a blog post. It’s just that life for me has been super busy because of my new job. I’m still getting accustomed to the new hours I’ve been working, plus I’ve already traveled twice during my three weeks in this position. The first time I traveled to Ohio for my training, and then a week later I was asked to attend time keeping training in Pennsylvania for the new time system we’ll be using for our time sheets.

On top of all of that, I then thought I was sick with a cold. But it turns out it’s my seasonal allergies that randomly make an appearance just when the last medication I take expires. My seasonal allergies first started for me whenever I was in college living on campus 30 minutes away from home. I don’t know what exactly changed, just discovered that my throat gets itchy and all whenever the seasons change. But it’s never consistent so I never know if it’s actually my allergies or if I’m sick. So I’ve been dealing with an itchy throat, stuffy nose and headaches on top of adjusting to my new position and getting accustomed to earlier hours.

As a result, I just haven’t had the energy or the time to write on my blog like I’ve been wanting to. And I feel pretty bad about it because I’ve already canceled a post I was really committed to writing for one of my blogging friends. I was really excited about writing this post, about this opportunity, but these past couple weeks have just gotten away from me and I wasn’t able to complete the post like I wanted to. I know she understands and all, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling bad that I didn’t complete the post like I wanted. I know they’ll definitely be more opportunities to guest post in the future, but I don’t like letting those chances slip away from me.

While I’m glad that I have this new job opportunity and to see where it takes me, I’m sad that I haven’t been as active on my blog recently. But with adjusting to new hours comes me having to change the time I write on my blog. I don’t know yet how often blog posts will be, but I’ll try my best to stay as active on here as I used to be. I think it essentially depends on how I feel once I leave work, whether I’m up to the task of writing on my blog or not.

For now though, I’ll take it one day at a time just like with my new job. I find that overall this job has been okay so far. I’m still fairly new so I’m still learning how things work around there and what’s expected of me. I know there’s a lot I could improve on with myself in this position, but since I’m still learning, I need to cut myself a little more slack. I don’t know yet how I feel about the job overall, mostly because it’s office work and that’s not something I necessarily enjoy doing. But with this job, I’m definitely gaining more experience and feel like I’m heading in the right direction with what I want to do. I just need to stop over thinking every little thing I do and I believe I’ll be fine once I get really into my new position. I’m extremely thankful for this opportunity and while this job is only supposed to be a temporary position, I’m hopeful that it could turn into something more for me when I can prove myself a valuable asset to the company.

I hope moving forward to continue writing more posts on my blog. But for now, I’m trying my best to enjoy this new opportunity and adjust to my new hours. I’ll write blog posts whenever I feel inspired and have the chance, but it might not be as frequent as I used to. So until my next post, I hope all of you are doing well and would appreciate hearing back from you in the comments about what you’ve been up to. Take care and happy writing!

A Personal Blog Post

A Personal Blog Post LogoHello everyone! It’s been awhile since I’ve put up anything personal here on my blog. I think the last time it was one of my coffee posts, due to feeling like I couldn’t really keep up with doing one once a week.

But I have some good news to announce that has happened to me. Something I’m really excited about, that I feel like I can no longer contain within myself anymore. So I feel like I need to write about it too in order to put into words exactly what I’m excited about.

For those who don’t already know, I’ve been working in food service since I was in college. I was hoping after I graduated I’d be able to get out of it for good. But that didn’t end up happening. Instead, I continued working in food service for these past three years since I’ve graduated, first continuing my job at my school’s dinning hall, then getting a job as a salad bar worker and server for a local deli here that has some pretty good food.

But I’ve now accepted a new job. One of my friends from college works for a company that’s based in Ohio. However, they are opening a location where I live and have been looking for people to help them with their projects here. My friend and I used to work together at our school’s dinning hall so she put in a good word for me with her employer to where they’ve now interviewed me and offered me a position with their company.

A lot of my responsibilities will involve handling their payroll, working on spreadsheets, making sure new workers fill out their paperwork, pretty much I’ll be doing a lot of office work. I don’t mind it though because I feel like this job will take me in the right direction career wise. I’ll be starting my new job on October 29th, two days before Halloween.

So I’m really excited about it. I’ve been excited about it ever since I was offered the position, and can’t wait to get started. While I’m sad to leave my current job behind, I’m ready to get out of food service, hopefully for good this time. While I enjoy the job I’ll be leaving behind, I really feel like this is the step in the right direction for me. So yes, this is the good news I’ve been wanting to share with you all.

I’d also like to say one more thing before I end this post. I really appreciate my friend for letting me know about this opportunity because without her, I wouldn’t be sharing this good news. So if you’re reading this my dear friend (which I hope you do), thank you so much for telling me about this job and putting in a good word for me. Thank you for everything this job opportunity offers me moving forward and for all the advice you’ve been giving me about the position ever since I told you I was offered the job. I also would like to add that I’m excited we’ll be working together again friend and can’t wait for us to get together again soon.

I’m just so thankful to get this opportunity and I wanted to share that with you all.

I hope you all are having a good day and happy writing!

Confessions of A Writer #7: I Love Writing Poetry Too

Robert Frost Poem Image

As someone who deeply loves the written word, one of my favorite ways of expressing emotion is through poetry. So it should come as no surprise that I love writing poetry too.

Poetry is a form of many expressions, from anger to happiness. All it takes is only a few lines for poetry to move me.

I especially love reading poems out loud. I feel whenever I read a poem out loud, I can better hear the flowing rhythms of each line and how they connect to each other.

I love both reading and writing poetry because I feel like it’s a simple way of getting my feelings across. While my emotions in poetry don’t always get expressed the way I want them to, I still find it to be a nice way to write your feelings down.

Since I love poetry so much, I have a couple poems I’ve written and posted here on my blog. My favorite ones include “I Walk Alone,” “Cheating” and “Guarded,” “Victory,” “Welcome Home,” and “Forgiveness.”  I feel like each of these poems I wrote came straight from the heart and are full of the exact emotions I wanted to express.

What about you? Do you love poetry too? If so, are there any poems you’ve written that you’d really like to share? Or are there any poems written by someone else that you wouldn’t mind sharing too?

Book Review: Dark Places

Dark Places Book Cover

Rating: 2 stars

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

I know a lot of people won’t be too pleased about my thoughts and feelings with this book. But I didn’t enjoy reading this book as much as other people did so I’m sticking by that.

However, before I get into all of my criticisms with Dark Places, let me start by saying that there are some aspects of this book I did enjoy. For one, I think the storyline was fascinating to read. A story about a woman whose whole family was murdered in their home and the surviving family member points to her brother being the murderer is a story that interested me. Especially as she begins feeling doubtful about her original statement to the police and investigates to find the truth. I usually enjoy stories like this where the protagonist goes undercover to find out what really happened. But there are several factors with this story that lead to me not enjoying it, which I’ll talk about shortly.

I also enjoyed the writing in this story. In particular, the different points of view in the story where the author shifts from present day Libby to Ben’s perspective before the murders happened. I found that it helps supply the reader with more information about what actually happened as well as introduces the reader to key characters who play a crucial role in the events leading up to the murders. You learn what life was like for Libby before these events happen and how this moment changed her life completely.

However, I still didn’t enjoy reading Dark Places despite the interesting storyline and alternative points of view. While I admit I did enjoy the storyline, I did also find it lacking in depth as well. What I didn’t enjoy about it was the mystery surrounding the murders and how the truth was revealed. I was hoping that the story would provide a twist that as a reader would make everything I read in the story click together and everything I didn’t like about this book would make sense. Instead, once the truth was revealed, I was left feeling disappointed in the story I was reading.

What didn’t help was that I found myself disliking all of the characters in the story. Especially the character whose supposed to be the protagonist in this book Libby. But she’s actually an unreliable narrator who admits that she lies, and as a reader you witness her stealing from people as she’s investigating the death of her family members. I also found her unlikeable because she came across as being a very selfish person throughout the story. When she met the various members of the Kill Club, all she cared about was knowing if a lot of the members were really interested in what happened to her and her family instead of asking whether they actually had any good theories on who killed her family. There’s also the fact that she’s upset when people pay attention to other cases instead of hers and she doesn’t want to do any sort of work to help herself get money until she’s asked by the Kill Club to uncover the truth of her family’s murder. But she only does it in the first place because they offer to pay her for talking to certain people.

I was hoping Dark Places would redeem her character by making her be the murderer because that would’ve at least made this book more enjoyable for me to read. Instead, we have other characters who play a role in her family’s death and the reasoning behind it all is completely senseless. I was also hoping to have at least one character in the story that I actually liked, but wasn’t too surprised when that didn’t happen either. While I found Libby being an unreliable narrator an interesting choice for the story, I felt like it didn’t really go anywhere to make this book a worthwhile read. I also felt the same way about the mystery surrounding her family member’s deaths because nothing worthwhile happened in this story that resulted in them dying.

As a result, I wasn’t particularly fond of Dark Places. There was just too much disappointment with everything for me with regards to this book for me to even give this book a higher rating. In fact, I would’ve given this book a one star rating if I hadn’t finished reading it. Nonetheless, I finished this book and am disappointed by what I read because I was expecting more from the story than was given.

 

 

OnlineBookClub.org Book Review: The Altitude Journals

Rating: 4 stars

https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=83983

Hello everyone! I hope today has been a really good day for you.

So, I have some exciting news to share with you all. I’ve been looking into sites that pay writers for book reviews because I need the extra money and think it would be good experience for me. That’s when I stumbled upon OnlineBookClub.org and decided to at least give it a try and see how it goes. So far, it’s been a good experience for me because they have daily giveaways where you have the chance to win a book or Amazon gift cards. I’ve already won two books from it so far and I think it’s a nice site that allows you to see a variety of different books to read. But, I haven’t been on the site for too long yet so I’m just waiting to see how the reviews I write go first before making any real decisions on whether I’ll stick with it or not.

I turned in my first review for the site yesterday. When I woke up this morning, I checked the status of it and it’s officially been published on the site. The link I have posted at the very beginning of this entry is where you can go to check out my review.

If you’re reading this and your an OnlineBookClub.org member, I’d appreciate it if you left a comment or shared the post so that others can read it. The same goes if your not a member, but are interested in checking the site out. Any feedback for me is deeply appreciated because I want to continue learning and growing as a writer.

I’d also like to say doing reviews on OnlineBookClub.org does not mean I won’t be posting any of my reviews that aren’t on the site here. I’ll still continue to write on this blog whenever I can because I love being on this space. There’s no way I’m leaving WordPress anytime soon. I’ll just be posting those review links here as well with “OnlineBookClub.org Book Review” as the title so you’ll know which of my reviews are on their site.

Thank you all for your understanding and happy writing!

Confessions of A Reader #4: I Reread Books

Oscar Wilde Book Quote

Hello everyone! Welcome back to yet another one of my Confessions of A Reader posts. For today’s topic of discussion, I’ve decided to confess to you all about my love of rereading books.

Ever since I discovered my love of reading, I also came to realize how much I love rereading books I enjoy. I think part of the reason why I love it is because I feel like you discover something different every time you read a book. Even when you’re reading a book you’ve read once before, you notice something different than the previous times.

The reason I enjoy rereading books is because it allows me to relive some of the best moments in a book I love. It reminds me of the reason I enjoy a particular book and helps me notice story elements I didn’t see before. I also find with rereading books making even more memories so that whenever I do reread a book again, I have more memories associated with the book.

I also love rereading books because it’s nice to see myself enjoying a book all over again. Whenever you read a particular book and see that you really enjoy it, sometimes when you read it a second time your feelings aren’t the same. As you get older or change as a person, your perception of a particular book might change along with you. I’ve noticed this happen to me, but discover myself still enjoying the books I’m rereading. I just see certain moments in the book through different eyes than my first go around.

There isn’t anything a book in particular needs to do for me to consider rereading it. If there’s a book in particular I enjoy and find myself wanting to read it again, I’ll do it no questions asked. As long as I enjoyed reading it the first time chances are I’ll read it again.

But I sometimes also give a book I never finished reading a second chance. The reason I attempt to read a book I never finished a second time is because I want to like the book and want to see how the story turns out. I also wonder if my thoughts on a book will change at all if I read it at a different point in my life. Or if I’ll still not finish the book once again.

I really love rereading books. It allows me the opportunity to notice something different in a book I love while also letting me relive the moments in a book I enjoyed. I also find that with time, rereading a book has benefits, such as giving you a different perception of the book you love.

But what about you? Do you enjoy rereading books at all? If so, what do you look for when deciding on a book to reread? Or are you like me and just reread books whenever you feel like it?

Please let me know your thoughts and feelings in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you about your thoughts on this blog post.

Book Review: Cujo

Cujo Book Cover

Rating: 3 stars

“Once upon a time, not so long ago, a monster came to the small town of Castle Rock, Maine.”

Cujo used to be a big friendly dog, lovable and loyal to his trinity (THE MAN, THE WOMAN, and THE BOY) and everyone around him, and always did his best to not be a BAD DOG. But that all ends on the day this nearly two-hundred-pound Saint Bernard makes the mistake of chasing a rabbit into a hidden underground cave, setting off a tragic chain of events. Now Cujo is no longer himself as he is slowly overcome by a growing sickness, one that consumes his mind even as his once affable thoughts turn uncontrollably and inexorably to hatred and murder. Cujo is about to become the center of a horrifying vortex that will inescapably draw in everyone around him—a relentless reign of terror, fury, and madness from which no one in Castle Rock will truly be safe… 

As an avid reader who doesn’t mind horror novels, this book didn’t meet my expectations. I didn’t mind the premise of the story because I love dogs and a dog turning rabid with rabies sounded right up my alley. Instead, Cujo made me feel more sad than horrified, which wasn’t something I was expecting.

However, I did have some enjoyment with this story. What I liked about this book was the premise. A dog who’s very loyal to his family one day goes chasing after a rabbit only to get rabies and tries to kill any human that gets close to him. I found this plot to be interesting because as someone who loves animals, I was invested in finding out how Stephen King was going to make this story more horrifying for his readers.

I also enjoyed how Cujo became associated as the monster Tad was starting to see in his closet in the beginning of the story. When Tad, Vic and Donna first meet the Camber’s dog Cujo, both Vic and Donna are weary of their son interacting with him. Both of them already saw him as a monster before he became infected with rabies. So it made sense later on in the story that he was the monster Tad saw in his closet. It was a nice parallel for these characters who already began seeing Cujo for the creature he became.

While this story wasn’t all that frightening, I did enjoy the horror elements King incorporated into the book. From monsters in the closet to somnambulism and a dog that turns wild, I thought these elements in the story made it a much more interesting read. You see all of these elements of horror in this book via the characters in the story. For example, you find out from Charity that her son Brett used to have a serious case of somnambulism that seems to return in the book while they are away from home. He’s seen walking around the house in a trance feeding their dog Cujo. This scene foreshadows that something bad is about to happen even though none of the characters have any clue what that’s going to be. It’s horrifying because you as the reader already know that Cujo is infected with rabies.

I think what I enjoyed the most about Cujo is that I felt sympathy for him. He never had a clue that his whole life was going to change all just because he chased after a rabbit. In this story, I felt sympathy for him because he was just so care free up until the point he got bitten. He was just a normal dog who suddenly turned into a monster. And I felt for him once that happened. He was in pain from that moment until he died, which to me was more sad than terrifying. In essence, this book made me sympathetic to Cujo because it made me more aware of how rabies impacts animals. It gave me a better understanding of rabies as a disease so I feel like I learned something new while feeling for Cujo.

However, there are a lot of things with this book I didn’t particularly enjoy. For one, I hated how the story switched back and forth between characters. While I normally don’t mind books that have multiple points of view, I felt like in this story it just dragged the plot along. Once Cujo was infected with rabies and started his killing, I felt like there were certain moments that didn’t need to be in the story. You as the reader know already that certain characters aren’t going to be in town when everything really begins, but I didn’t feel like we needed to see exactly what they were doing. This bothered me because the plot of the story didn’t pick up or interest me until close to the middle of the story. So the rest of what I was reading just felt like filler up until Cujo’s rabies took over.

I also didn’t like most of the characters in the story besides Cujo and the two children in the story Tad and Brett. None of the adults in the story had much in the way of character development and I just didn’t particularly care about anyone in the story. I liked the children in the story because they still had their childhood innocence, but none of the adults were people I really wanted to get to know. I think it had to do with the adults having no idea what was going on around them while the children seemed to have more of a sense that something bad was coming. Either way, I wasn’t fond of too many of the characters so I didn’t really care what happened to them.

I especially didn’t care for how it all ended. I was hoping that the ending would be seriously grim with Cujo killing all of the characters in the story, minus Tad and Brett. Instead, it was sad because Cujo deserved a lot more than what he was given and I felt a little terrible for Vic and Donna. I think this is why I had a hard time seeing this book as horror because all the moments I wanted to feel scared I felt sad instead. I felt sad for Cujo who went from a friendly dog to a monster in the blink of an eye. And I felt bad for Tad and Brett, both for different reasons I can’t reveal without spoiling the story.

Overall, I did enjoy reading Cujo because the premise is interesting and the horror elements King did incorporate into the story made it a more fascinating read. But the plot was bogged down with too much information , characters I wasn’t particularly invested in, and an ending that made me more sad than scared that I did have a hard time continuing to read the story to find out what happened next. The idea behind this book made me fascinated to read it, but its execution didn’t meet my expectations at all so I came away from this book disappointed that it didn’t meet its full potential. However, I haven’t read too many of Stephen King’s books so the way I feel about this one isn’t going to stop me from reading more of his work.

 

Three Years of Blogging and There’s Always Something New to Learn

Three Years Blogging Image

On July 28, 2015, I started my blog here, not knowing how much my life would change. I didn’t realize starting this blog how much I’d enjoy writing on it, using my words as a way to express how I feel about a book I finished reading or a video game I was currently playing.

I didn’t realize in 2015 that I would find myself a writing community that I could call home. A place I could go to whenever I had books I wanted to discuss and read other’s talking about similar things as me. I didn’t realize I’d find a place full of people I could relate to even though life was taking us on separate journeys.

Three years later, and I still feel like I’m learning something new when it comes to blogging. In my third year of blogging, what I’ve come to discover is that I’m learning more about myself as a blogger.

These past couple weeks I haven’t been doing quite as much writing as I’d like. I think a lot of that is because I’ve been dealing with a lot emotionally and needed some time away to just reflect and take a break from writing until I felt like I had something I could write about. As a blogger, I’ve come to realize that giving yourself a break from your blog every now and then is okay. Especially if you have a lot in your personal life you’re trying to deal with and can’t focus on writing anyway.

I’ve also come to realize during my third year of blogging that I can write posts that others can relate to. I see this through both of my Confessions series where I talk about the things I do as a writer and reader. Knowing that people in the WordPress community can relate to what I’m writing makes me as a blogger/writer happy. It makes me feel like I’ve finally found a place where I can be myself and others will accept me.

Three years later and there’s always something new to learn. But as long as I have this blog, I believe anything is possible. Thank you to everyone who’s been following my blog from the beginning and everyone else who’s following my blog too. I know I definitely couldn’t have made this all possible without all of you. I look forward to continuing my blog and writing more posts that all of you will enjoy.

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